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FOIA lawsuit against Schuette will be heard by Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan AG Bill Schuette
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Several years ago, Progress Michigan started what would become a years long court battle with then-attorney general Bill Schuette.

The group accused Schuette and his office of using private emails for state business in 2016. The group filed a public records request for emails that were sent using private accounts.

Schuette’s office denied the request, saying there were no such documents.

Now, the Michigan Supreme Court will decide if the attorney general’s office needs to do a review of all personal emails from Schuette’s time in office and turn over any that involve state business.

Lonnie Scott is the executive director of Progress Michigan. He says this case is significant for transparency in Michigan.

“We believe that the public has a right through FOIA to access any business that’s taking place that affects public activities or how state government operates,” he said.

Schuette’s office continually denied that any documents exist showing employees used private emails for state business.

Schuette was replaced by Attorney General Dana Nessel in January. But Lonnie Scott says “accountability doesn’t have an expiration date.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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